Friday, November 23, 2007

I've got some sad news. My vintage red and gray apron didn't make it through the Thanksgiving affair. The pocket got caught on a drawer pull and --rrriippp-- right down the center. A portion of the vintage print can be found in the patchwork on the middle right hand side of the photo.

In happier news, my sewing room is finally getting unpacked. Order really does make the space feel better. But where did I get so much fabric? It's fun rediscovering all my fun fabric treasures. I'm excited to finish the unpacking tomorrow and finish a few projects.

I hope you all had a fantastic time yesterday! Did any of you score some great bargains today?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stuffing Etsy

Instead of doing laundry, I have been playing around with Etsy. At least the dishes are clean. But not for long because I am going to try and get a head start and make a few side dishes today. On the menu: All the normal stuff (turkey, stuffing, mash taters, gravy) green bean casserole, brussel sprouts (because we love'em around these parts!), cranberry stuff, green stuff (you make it with marshmallows, pistachio pudding, pineapple, and cool whip), rolls. Standard fair. For dessert I thought I'd use my muffin pans, make bread pudding, line the pans, add homemade apple pie filling in the center, top with crumble topping. Serve with ice cream and caramel syrup.

Anyways, I had some time to put a few items in my shop.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Japanese Crafting

I have been challenging myself to sewing new things. I really enjoy the thought process in assembling fabric and materials to construct a 3D object. Mental stimulation baby! At nights I have been reading through my new Japanese crafting magazines coming up with some really neat projects. The first one I attempted was a pencil case. It took me a few minutes to understand how to sew the exterior and interior fabric to the zipper. The diagrams didn't show this step in the book.
You know, one thing I don't do very often is patchwork? And why not!? I was able to use up some of my small scrap fabric on this project. I am totally feeling the red and blue vibe. My scrap basket seems to be overflowing with this color combo. I really enjoyed pairing up fabrics, using contracting stitches to really make my patterns/linen pop. One thing I left out was interfacing. I need to interface the remaining patchworks I have sewn up for this project. It just needs more structure. But it's still perfect enough to add to one little girls library tote for Xmas. Yes-sir-ee.

Check out this amazing aqua and red fabric by Moda. Oh the birds! I have been slowly but surely stowing away red and aqua fabric/pillow cases/scraps as I find them. It's been a long time since I have made a quilt (since I am still working on the 4 year quilt I can't start another!) and I've got this great idea for a warm weather blanket in red's and aqua's. The birds with the plaid and the daisy chain with polka dots. And I can't forget the red poppy. Can you see it? The link is to a European store. I did a quick search on a few online fabric stores I am familiar with and had no luck. I'm going to call my "local" fabric store tomorrow and see if they carry it.

I made a quick stop into a thrift store over my lunch break. I came home with another very soft white knit sweater to turn into a pillow. I need another 50% coupon to purchase some stuffing for my pillows. Then I'll be ready to roll!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sweater Pillow PART 1

This project was a learning experience and still requires tweaking. This was my first attempt to turn a thrifted cable knit sweater into a pillow. This was also my first time sewing a knitted fabric. There are a couple of pillow designs that I would like to try out.
  1. Simple pillow that highlights a beautiful bottom hem and ties shut across the bottom. This is the version I tried first. It seemed the simplest by far.
  2. Envelop style pillow back for easy on/off. If I am going to have white pillows I need to wash them! (Maybe even adding button closures?)
First attempt: I took advantage of the sides of the sweater already sewn together and decided to sew a straight line just under the sleeves.

Do this- Don't cut the sweater. Leave it whole. Draw a sewing line to follow. Drop your feed dogs to ease the sweater under the pressure foot.

Don't try- an overlocking stitch. It just pulls and bunches the sweater.

You can see in the photo above that I used the overlocking stitch on the left half of the sweater. It's really wonky. Half way through sewing and a broken needle later I switch to a zigzag stitch. This worked much better for me and the sewing machine. But go slow. My Pfaff (which is suppose to sew through 6 layers of denim) was having trouble zigzaging through the dense cable knit design. I then trimmed the sweater 1/4'' from my stitches and turned right side out. You can see that my straight line is not so straight anymore.

Second attempt:
I wanted the top of my sweater to be square so I tried once again to sew it together. Using the advise of one of my commenters, I changed my sewing strategy. To help keep things square I whip stitched the bottom of my sweater hem together using contrasting orange thread. I then basted my sweater together near my new sewing line. This helped greatly in keeping everything moving together in the sewing process.

Squaring up my sweater and drawing a new sewing line.

You can see my orange basting stitch and new sewing line.

My new sewing strategy first had me do a straight stitch down my sewing line and then I went back and did a zigzag stitch to help keep my cut edges from unraveling. Keep in mind not to do too tight of a zigzag. My needle up/down feature really came in handy sewing this. During the zigzag my pressure foot would sometimes want to get hung up on the thick cable design. Stopping the machine while the needle was down and just lifting the pressure foot and setting it back down helped the machine work through the tough spots. You can see the overlock stitch I tried the first go round to the right of my pressure foot. It sure looks nice and neat, but it really wonkified the final result.
A much straighter result and far less puckering. At this point I measured the pillow and made a muslin insert.

I used white cotton ribbon (this was ribbon that tied together my sew-mama-sew fabric order) in 6'' lengths. I hand stitched them evenly across the bottom. I popped in the pillow insert and thought I was finish. Guess again. The corners of the sweater made funny little 'ears' when the pillow form was in.
You can see how the corners stretched out a bit in this photo, but the top hem is straight and not puckery!
So I sewed off the corners, if you will. And this seemed to do the trick. When I put the pillow form back it I got the result I was looking for.

Not the best picture in the world, but you get the idea of the final result.

Ties on the bottom of the pillow.

I am pretty happy with the result. The pillow measures 24'' by 14''. The next step is throwing it in the washer and seeing how it fairs. If anyone else has any suggestions, please pass them along. I am still working out how to finish the edges of the envelope style pillow. Maybe use a bias tape of sorts? But should I use a knit fabric or plain old cotton?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Button Love.

I sewed up my first pillow from the sweater. I documented all the steps and improvements I should make for the next time. This is definitely a process that will improve over time. Dead batteries for the camera = no pics.

But I want to let Roxanne know she will be getting some buttons in the mail. I googled a random number generator and it choose #1o.

Also, Vallen and Diana will be getting some of my thrift store remnants.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More free stuff

I washed, ironed, and folded all that new fabric last night. Now I just have to tackle the real laundry. Later.

However, when I was putting that fabric away I found a bag of the following items. You know when you get those great thrifting finds, you sometimes have to bring the baggage home too? And not that any of the following items are bad in any way, they are just not my thing or I currently don't feel inspired by them. But I know someone will be!

So if you feel that you can use any of the 3 following items just say so in a note. Then I'll group you all together according to your likes and pick a name. I'll do this drawing and the button drawing tomorrow evening. FYI- you'll need to wash these when you get them.
Purple lace- there are a few scraps and one large continuous piece (perhaps more than a yard).

Pink ladies- I know someone will have a ball with this. There could be almost 2 yards of this. The fabric is sheer.

Roses- I got these two fabrics at different times, but they seem to work well together. I would consider these large scrap pieces. Large enough to make a pocket or zipper pouch.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sewing advise needed

I forgot to ask this in my morning post, but I am all ready to turn 4 lovely white, cotton cable knit sweaters into pillows. Now originally I was going to dive in head first, but then I thought better of it. Does anyone have words of wisdom when sewing knit sweaters?

PS. I do not have a serger.

PPS. Don't forget about the button give-a-way!

Free Money Loot and Nice Fun Mail

When I walked in the door last night from work, my husband said that I "exceeded my daily allotment of fun mail for the day!" What a great thing to come home to!

First off, I received my end of the Pumpkin Spice Coffee swap with Jenn. I really made out. She sent me several pieces of the softest wool felt ever! Along with some "melt my heart" polka dot linen, silks and buttons. There is some Japanese trim around somewhere, but it must have been on my sewing table when I took this photo. Thanks so much Jenn! I really loved it all! And my order from SewMamaSew arrived. Remember the "free money" I got from work. Part of it went towards this.
And I stopped in my local JoAnn Fabrics last night for some dark denim (which happened to be 50% off!). Little did I know that my JoAnn's sits right next door to a Goodwill. A match made in heaven. I also picked up a few other sale items/remnants. The lady cutting my fabric was a doll. She was generous when she cut my yardage and even gave me an additional 10% off coupon that I could use that day!
And my fun money bought me a 1/2 gallon jar full of old buttons and wooden spools!
I really apologize for the picture quality. Early morning daylight hours are not the most ideal conditions (especially with my camera). I must of took a dozen photo's of my button jar and this was the best I could come up with. Terrible I know!

Regardless of the picture quality, I wanted to share some button love. I picked this jar because of its overwhelming colors! (Yes, there where TWO jars available!) So let's say I give you until Friday evening to leave a note for a huge fistful of buttons. I'm just going to stick my hand in and you get whatever comes out. Wooden spools and all. It's kinda like those quarter claw games when you always get a prize. Except you don't even need to pay a quarter. Nice huh!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Just like riding a bike

Friday night I spent a few hours in my sewing room. I finally had all my fabric at my fingertips, but to my amazement just stood there leafing through all my fabrics not really coming up with anything. Originally I had wanted to start an embroidery project, but my hand was not cooperating with my minds eye. So I moved on.

I decided another zipper pouch would do just fine. I paired it with a indigo denim instead of linen this time. I liked how it came out. Very crisp.
Just buzzed right through it. But by the time I finally got my fabric picked out, everything cut out (but when you are about to make one you might as well cut a few others as well) midnight had come and gone.

I got up early on Saturday and finished sewing it up. It was raining in the morning, but the sun just came out in time to take a few photos. However, my camera settings somehow was changed to a "warm" view and all the other photos of bags and pincushions came out like crap. So I have to do that all over again. I want to get some things loaded in my etsy shop, just in case I can help anyone out with Xmas presents.

Jeff and I just got back from my parents where we helped them all weekend move their household. My back is a bit sore from working in the cramped corners of the attic. A hot bath sounds just about right then crawl into bed. Zzzzz.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Morning Sunrise

As I was eating my yogurt this morning standing by the sink, I all of the sudden noticed this beautiful violet my mom gave me. The sun shone so brightly this morning really setting off the purple and yellow. When she dropped it off at my house it was accompanied by the wreath it's sitting in and I never separated the two. There they have been sitting for a few days. *Do you see that tall spiky plant blurred in the background? I've bought that in college 6 years ago when it was only inches tall on the wal-mart clearance rack for $.50. I think it's done quite well!*

I may keep the wreath and plant a pair. I think a pretty little bird would round out this arrangement quite well.

I have been making my rounds on the internet this evening. Thanks to some great buying advise from Jenn, I have a few Japanese crafting books on the way!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Oh happy days!

There is nothing like getting an email saying you have free money. And, no, this is not an internet scheme. You all know I recently started a new job. This new job has a great program called "Reward It" and they send you an visa gift card that your boss can load money onto it whenever you do a great job. They do this so you have to spend the money on something fun, rather than put it on your pay stub. And since we are currently on a budget (and I have had no time to sew items up for my etsy shop) I haven't had much fun money laying around.

Until today! Hurah!

So I have been doing what any girl would do if she had free money. Internet shop. But you know me, so Etsy and all you very cool online fabric shops have recently seen a jump in visits because of me. :)

Want to window shop with me? Want to help me decide what to buy?

How about this very earthy necklace?

Too bad I just bought these few prints from bundanART. I just love'em. They'll all be framed along with the two others I currently have to make a large collection to hang in the dining area. I really love the vibrate colors and shapes she paints.

A little rich for my budget but beautiful none-the-less.

OK, I am on a necklace roll. But it's so sweet!

Puppies walking down the street! And it's on sale!

Or how about some Etsuko Furuya fabric? I really like the "natural birds".

I can't believe I haven't purchased any Heather Ross fabric yet. I've had my eye on this cute matrushka doll patterned fabric! Did you know I lived in Moscow for 4 months?

I really enjoy reading about people's fun experiences with Japanese sewing books. But I really don't know where to start. Any favorites out there?

Oooohhh... yellow bird seed.

Letters are cool too. I can see some personalized Xmas presents being made out of this.

And now I am totally bumming. Last night I was exploring Amy Butler's website and looked through her shop. I really liked her Pearl Bag in Olive Poppy. It was there last night. Now it's gone. :( It was 50% off too. I would have bought that tonight. Crap. I just did a thorough internet search to find this poppy field fabric in olive and can't find it anywhere. Any idea's /suggestions?

Do you have any "gotta have's" you'd like to share? Might as well put your Xmas list together now!

(I wonder who actually visited all those links?)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Buttons, where are the buttons!

Last night I sat down to sew new curtain tie backs for the living room. I had the fabric sitting out for weeks. When I finally decided on doing a button closure, I set out to the garage (where a lot of my sewing supplies still sit in boxes) to find my buttons. I went through every box sitting in there! (Should have put some stuff away, but eh.) NO BUTTONS! I have JARS of buttons and they are missing! It still has me in a tizzy, but I was lucky enough to find an old jar pincushion that had a few buttons stored away.
I found the curtain sheers (the correct size!) at the thrift store for $4 each. Originally I was going to make some curtains, but time and money (some home deco fabric is expensive!) delayed me to the point of walking in Bed and Bath's doors. And lo and behold.... linen curtain panels on clearance for $20 each. Score. I figure they are such a neutral color that I could use them anywhere and I would still have the option of cutting them up to repurposing them if/when I felt like it.

I decided on using a red polka dot fabric to bring the red from our lovely couch to the other side of the room. I backed it with some reclaimed linen pants and interfaced it to give a clean, crisp look. I am in *love* with the button hole feature on my new Pfaff. It let's you manually make a button hole size then remembers what you did so I didn't have to measure every button hole for each tie back. Love, love, love it! Now with some well placed pillows and accessories, everything will coming together. Just in time for the party!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Recent thrift finds

One good thing about moving is discovering all the new thrift stores. One bad thing is you miss your old favorite thrift stores.

I gathered the following items at a few different places. One thrift store benefited a local animal shelter. As I looked around I was pretty disappointed with the very high prices for very subpar (I mean I would throw the stuff away!) items. But then I found another white, cotton, cable knit sweater to add to my "I'm going to make into pillows on day" pile and this very tiny, marble cake plate with glass dome. I suppose I could put a wheel of brie in there, but my spools of vintage fabric ribbon will do for now. Want to know how much this cutie set me back? $3. *smiles*
I also recently found this gorgeous, luxurious yellow polka dot twin flat sheet. It is the SOFTEST sheet I ever felt. I wish I had a twin size bed in the house so I could use it. It might take me awhile to cut this one up.

And I am not sure if this counts as thrifting, but a couple Sunday's ago Jeff and I realized we were very low on food and decided to take a Sunday trip to my parents to raid their freezer and garden.
Lot's and lot's of green beans, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, and red skin potatoes, yukon gold potatoes, and butternut squash. Green beans have already been frozen. Tomatoes cooked down into sauce. Potatoes and squash are hanging out in the garage. And we also cooked down a bushel of apples into applesauce and got that canned. Winter here we come!

Apple butter is next.

But first we are hosting a Harvest Party this weekend for all of our friends. On the menu- pulled pork (I roasted one pork shoulder yesterday and another today), butternut squash soup, mac and cheese, spaghetti squash, seasoned pinto beans, hot apple cider, pumpkin pie, and apple crisp. Just to name a few things. I suppose there will be pickles and roasted pumpkin seeds laying around too. OK. Now who's gonna help wash the dishes?